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Menomonee Falls set to build two new fire stations

Village budgets $5.3 million to upgrade, add to department

Feb. 18, 2014

Menomonee Falls — The Village Board on Monday night unanimously approved a $9 million capital budget for this year. The budget includes 17 items, but more than half the money will be spent on two new fire stations.

The largest single expenditure is $2,750,000 for a new Fire Station No. 1 at the southwest corner of Main Street and Menomonee Avenue. The former Sunnyside School on the property will be demolished. A summary of the budget stated that the existing Fire Station No. 1 "is an older facility and in need of renovation. It does not have enough existing garage space (for) the number of vehicles housed at the station. It also has a significant amount of relatively inefficient space for administrative duties and living space."

Fire Station No. 5 will be built on West Silver Spring Drive on village-owned land next to Well House No. 10, at a cost of $2,585,000. The summary said the new station "is needed to provide adequate service to the southwest area of the village to serve proposed and future development."

Infrastructure upgrades

The third largest expenditure is $800,000 toward the village's asphalt paving program, including installation of storm sewers to address areas of existing roadways with poor drainage.

Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald told the board that for road maintenance, "you need to be on a continuous cycle, or you're going to bury yourself in work."

Fitzgerald noted that the much of the village's infrastructure dates to the 1950-80 era of its greatest growth. As various facilities come due for replacement, "we will be doing this magnitude of capital improvements annually, pretty much forever."

The board was also presented with a five-year capital plan. By far the largest project listed is a centralized public works facility proposed for 2016 at a projected cost of $10.5 million.

TIF districts kick in

Village staffers discussed financing for capital improvements. Eight of the 17 projects this year will be funded by $920,000 in debt assumed by the village water utility. There will be $4 million assumed in general obligation debt, while there will be $3,520,000 paid in cash, mainly generated by landfill tipping fees and fire impact fees paid by developers.

Financial Services Director Jason Kaczmarek said the village intends to maintain its annual debt levy at around $2.4 million.

The village will tap a tax incremental financing district for $560,000 toward the capital improvements. Fitzgerald and Trustee Sharon Ellis said TIF districts have helped keep the village on a firm financial footing.

"We just came through five of the roughest years I can remember, and we weathered it pretty well," Fitzgerald said.

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